On the Verge

MOHAMMED SHAREEF — Since 2003 Iraqi Kurdistan has changed from a pawn to an actor. Today this transformation is being put to the test.

Hezbollah’s New Ground

RODGER SHANAHAN — As the country wobbles, Lebanon’s “Party of God” advances narrow, sectarian interests as its regional capabilities increase.

Constructing Division

JOSEPH SASSOON — Endless violence has fundamentally cleaved Iraqi society. Yet there are no incentives to change this system.

Painting a Mixed Picture

THEO FARRELL — After 13 years of fighting, Afghan National Security Forces have assumed responsibility for all combat operations in their country. Now the real fight begins.

Between Definitions and Identities

ABBAS MILANI — In their efforts to forge a national identity Iran’s leaders have revealed deep chasms between social and political realities in the Islamic State.

The Bleakest Picture

AVI SHLAIM — Israel has constructed an “Iron Wall” of strength. But now its leaders refuse to emerge from behind it. 

“The Greatest Challenge”

Information at a glance from one of the P-WW’s contributors, Harith al-Qarawee, on the current developments in Iraq.

Beyond the Sect

HARITH AL-QARAWEE — A misguided discourse hides the deep secular and political roots of Iraq’s dramatic dissolution. 

Iraq at the Abyss

MATTHEW SCHWEITZER — The United States must pressure Maliki to enact political changes to prevent further disaster, that is, if Iraq has not already fallen into the abyss. 

An Unthreatening Storm

JOHN NAGL — The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was kicked out of Al Qaeda for being too violent. It may soon be kicked out of Iraq, and history.

Lessons from the US War in Iraq: Ten Years Later

Few events of the last decade have loomed as large in US politics as the US decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. Ten years later, what is the lasting legacy of the… Continue reading

The Faces of Iraq’s Intelligentsia

The P-WW’s Editor discusses the plight of Iraq’s intellectual class at Al Jazeera English. This article is the first in a series for Al Jazeera about the decline of Iraq’s intelligentsia. READ THE… Continue reading

“Iraq Ten Years On: Ivory Tower Under Siege”

The P-WW’s Editor discusses the Iraqi university system at war in Le Monde Diplomatique, to mark the ten-year anniversary of the 2003 invasion: “The vast majority of the Iraqi academics feel that it… Continue reading

Rushing to the Finish

KENNETH M. POLLACK — When the United States withdrew from Iraq in 2011, they pulled the ground out from under a country still trying to find its political feet. The effects of this… Continue reading

The Kurdish Question

JOOST HILTERMANN — There is little that could prevent small local conflicts from escalating into an Arab-Kurdish battle, except a political desire for stability on both sides and a residual US mediating role.

Illusions of Peace

AARON DAVID MILLER — Israel and Palestine are poised uneasily between a peace they cannot have and a confrontation they try to avoid.

The New Great Power Arena

ALEXANDER COOLEY — United States strategy in Central Asia was guided by the Afghanistan conflict. This singular focus may come back to bite American policymakers during the next decade.

Conversations with the Taliban

THEO FARRELL — The Taliban are ready to negotiate. The US and NATO are the ones turning the cold shoulder.  

The One-State Solution

GEORGE BISHARAT – A two-state solution would be damaging to Palestinian rights, and impossible to achieve.

Driving Stability

BARBARA BODINE — The USS Cole tragedy illustrated Yemen as a country willing but often without the resources to aid in the American “War on Terror.”  

The Waiting Game

MARCIN ANDRZEJ PIOTROWSKI — For Poland, like many European nations, Afghan policy will be put on hold until after the United States gets the White House in order.

Opinion: The Wallists

SUMAYA BOUADI —  It was a generational shift in thought that guaranteed a revolution long before Mohammad Bouaziz ever sold fruit on Tunisian streets. 

NATO’s Afghan Report Card

STEN RYNNING — NATO earns a score of 6/10 for its cohesion, but only a 3/10 for strategic management. This assessment illuminates a stark contrast between the Alliance’s military successes and political disappointments. 

Understanding Reality

ROSEMARY HOLLIS — The British experience in Iraq taught the UK about the region, and its place in Europe. Yet many leaders are not interested in learning any lessons. 

Under the Table

STEPHEN STARR — Syria has its own silent majority, and it does not support the rebels or the regime.

Pakistan’s Woes

ROBERT M. HATHAWAY — Pakistan and the United States have fostered a shallow alliance in Afghanistan. Leaders on both sides are troubled by its effects. 

How Al Qaeda Failed

MICHAEL BAUER — Al Qaeda failed to establish its caliphate in Iraq. For European counterterrorist experts, that was never the point of the war. 

How Australia views Afghanistan

GEOFFREY GARRETT — Australia has always followed the United States into tricky situations. Afghanistan is no different.

Opinion: The Second Scramble

SHIRO WACHIRA – Is Iran barking up the wrong tree in Africa?

Navigating the Minefield

SAAD JAWAD – The 2003 invasion created a far more dangerous period for Iraqi intellectuals than under Saddam, and fractured Iraq’s political landscape.  

Tunisia Could Teach the Palestinians a Thing or Two

The P-WW’s own Editor, Matthew Schweitzer, discusses Tunisia’s Arab Spring experience and the lessons it could teach the Palestinian authorities, at the Jerusalem Post: “The nation that set the Arabic-speaking world on fire stands… Continue reading

Examining Religious Democracy

NOAH FELDMAN – Religion and democracy can coexist in the Middle East. Just look at Iraq and Tunisia.

Why Not to Attack Iran

COLIN KAHL – If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, it would destabilize the region. But it could also destabilize itself. And forget about it sharing those secrets with its proxies. 

Examining Saddam’s Iraq

AMATZIA BARAM – Saddam learned his own lessons from Iraq’s political history, and his conclusions were not that illogical. 

Misreading Russia in Syria

The P-WW’s own Editor, Matthew Schweitzer, discusses US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s June 12 accusations against Russia and Russian arms shipments to Syria at the Small Wars Journal: “To keep the Syrian war… Continue reading

Information at War

DAVID BETZ – When Information goes to war, the results might not be as unprecedented as one might think. 

Unmanned Warfare and Strategic Shift

BRUCE JENTLESON – In the Middle East, unlike in Vegas, what happens in one country does not stay in that country. 

Saudi Arabia’s Geopolitical Role

F. GREGORY GAUSE III – How can the international community understand Saudi Arabian politics? 

Discourse on Power

JOSEPH S. NYE – As leaders increasingly understand the character of power in international politics, the better their policy will become.

Memories from Afghanistan

JENNIFER HEATH – It is impossible to put a single face on Afghanistan, despite the West’s best attempts. 

Russia’s Syrian Ballet

EDWARD BURKE – It is important to remember that Russia’s involvement in Syria is based on Cold War memories.  

Envisioning Afghanistan

MUJIB MASHAL – An Al Jazeera reporter paints a picture of Afghanistan. 

Afghanistan’s Political Future

STEPHEN BIDDLE – To achieve victory in Afghanistan, the United States and NATO will have to compromise without betraying their key goals. 

What is Left in Iraq

NED PARKER – The war destroyed what little infrastructure Iraq had. And what’s worse, there is no precedent for building it again. 

The British Experience in Iraq

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN – The British decision to invade Iraq was based less on whether the operation was justified and more on whether the UK should follow their American allies. 

Afghanistan’s Report Card

NYT – This graphic from the New York Times helps to explain the general trends surrounding operations in the Afghanistan War. How can American leaders assess the efficacy of their operations in Iraq and… Continue reading

On Hegemony

NOAM CHOMSKY – The West has its own agenda for the Arab Spring and the region. 

On Syria

DANIEL BYMAN – What institutions can be used to pressure the Syrian regime, and what should be done if those mechanisms fail? 

US Military Presence Abroad

CATHERINE LUTZ – “There is nothing more American, in many ways, unfortunately, than a place bristling with weapons and soldiers.”